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To gesso or not to gesso...that is the question!

Dear Cyndi...........In my searching I found you and have a question for you..... Is it recommended that you gesso a Canvas and Canvas Boards before you begin working on them. In all my searching some say to treat some do not even say at all. My concern is the Canvas sides - when I need to finish them off -if I'm not going to scarpbook technique them but color with either by paint/ink/marker. Whatever I do, I want a professional product to last and not fall apart after it has been sold. Whatever information you can share with me will be greatly appreciated..........Thank you........... Carol

Hi Carol,
Gesso serves four different purposes: to give "tooth" to surfaces that don't have enough, to prevent "thirsty" surfaces from sucking up too much of your more expensive paints, to create a smoother surface to work on, and to cover over prior mistakes. Five purposes: to add a certain amount of texture. There! I think that's basically it. So I don't think you have to worry about your pieces falling apart if you choose not to use gesso on canvas. Most canvas doesn't really need it unless it isn't as smooth as you'd like, but it is a thirsty material, so it's often worth taking the extra step. Love to see what you make! Best ~ Cyndi

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I use it mostly for creating texture under paint, and I find that it seems to make my colors "brighter" (maybe because it is so white)... but the part I really love about it is that whole "thirsty canvas" one. Some surfaces can be darned thirsty... Very good information, thanks Cyndi!
Cyndi L said…
That whitening property is a good one too...forgot about that! Thanks June :-)
Robbie said…
Great explanation and tips, Cyndi! Thanks so much for posting the question and your reply! I'm sharing with my friends your post.
Great info, Cyndi. Thank you.

I just read about using gesso as a resist. Does that make it 7? lol.
Cyndi L said…
There's a link to my gesso "resist" tutorial in the post, Eileen. I don't really think it's much different from using it to add texture, but it's your call! :-)